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Title: Commander Keen 4-6
Rom Player: None
Reviewer: FatSatan

Synopsis: More Keen! More Keen! Commander Keen returns for three more games with better graphics, more candy, a shiteload of new enemies and a hilarious new story. Episodes 4 and 5 fit under the collective name “Goodbye, Galaxy”, while 6 was a standalone game introducing a new storyline that never got finished.

Episode 4:
After Keen kicked the ass of his playground nemesis, Mortimer McMire, he returns home to the Earth he saved from destruction. When he’s playing with a cosmic transceiver in his treehouse one day, he gets a distress call from the planet Gnosticus IV. Sensing there’s justice to be upheld, Keen freezes both his parents with his raygun and hops in the Bean-with-bacon Megarocket. Arriving on Gnosticus IV, a planet known for its wise men that control the sacred Oracle, Keen learns that these wise men have been captured by a race known as the Shikadi and locked away in several locations around the planet. He must free them! This game had some classic new enemies, such as the giant Dopefish. The stages were diverse and awesome. Added to that, Keen had some new talents: shooting upwards and down. For its time, the graphics rocked, and there were tons of secret passages to extra tasty bonuses.

Episode 5: The Armageddon Machine
Episode 4 was shareware, but if you ask me, pulling fans in with Episode 4 to make them buy Episode 5 was theft. First of all, Episode 5 is disappointingly short. Second, the stages are all pretty much alike. Lastly, the enemies aren’t very original, mainly because they’re nearly all robots. Only the Shikadi, though not as freaky as Episode 4 suggested, are somewhat interesting. The story: After Keen freed all the Gnosticene ancient wise ones, they gathered around the Oracle to see what it had to say about the Shikadi. It seemed that the Shikadi were building a giant machine to destroy the galaxy! Keen immediately left to destroy this machine. And that’s what your task is this time through. Find the various power stations and break them with your pogostick, eventually destroying the main power cell and rendering the Armageddon Machine harmless. Like I said, this game just seems too short for a final episode, which is why Episode 6 turned out to be such a relief.

Episode 6: Aliens Ate My Babysitter!
What do a hilarious story, dozens of cool new enemies, and a load of new stages make? Probably the best Commander Keen game of all. This standalone game was supposed to pave the way for yet more Keen games, which were never made. When Keen’s parents are away one night, his babysitter Molly is kidnapped by the Bloogs from the planet Fribbulus Xax. These cycloptic bird-like monstrosities intend to make her into a festive meal! Keen rushes off to save Molly, making his way through all kinds of stages to reach her. This game had all the originality of Episode 4, with seemingly more stages – only this time, the order in which you play them is more set. The enemies all rock and the stages will never bore you. The last stage is old-fashioned tough and the ending leaves you hungry for more.

If the original Commander Keen trilogy was too dated for you, you might still like this one. The graphics are just pretty, the music and sounds are no longer just PC speaker quality, and the story is too funny to ignore. Episode 4 is shareware and can be found on most game download sites, but Episode 5 is harder to track down (unless you’re willing to actually pay for it). Episode 6 has received a weird treatment from the owners: it’s no longer sold anywhere, yet it’s not made Abandonware either. Fuck that, we’re Keen fans and we deserve to play those games: let me know if you can’t find them on your own. Y’arrr.

So what gives? Why weren’t there more Keen games after Episode 6 left the series open to such an obvious sequel? Well, the original creators of Commander Keen no longer work for the company that owns the trademark. They WANT to make a sequel, but it’s taking ages for their old bosses to hand over the rights. Hopefully we’ll still one day see Commander Keen 7, rumored to be called “the Universe is Toast”, where Keen meets his nemesis Mortimer McMire once more.

Best Cheats: Episodes 4 and 6 have a secret stage. In Episode 4, go into the Pyramid of the Moon and look for a room with lots of yellow worms in it. By flipping switches and using keys, you must free all the worms and have them follow you till they’re all around you. They’ll become a foot and fly you to the Pyramid of the Forbidden. In Episode 6, before you enter the last stage on the space station, walk past it and wait for the satellite to pick you up. You’ll be flown to a secret stage.

Game Play: 8
Graphics: 9
Music/Sound: 6
Originality: 9
Overall Rating: 8


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